Responsibilities: Research, Concept Development, Design Refinement, Prototyping, Material Sourcing, Production.
Develop a solution that fits the current needs of either a local nonprofit or individual, using a 4'x4' sheet of donated plywood.
Meet Debra. Debra is a member at the Max Higbee Center, a small nonprofit that provides recreational programs for teens and adults with developmental disabilities.
Most games don't accommodate the needs of those with physical and developmental handicaps. Confidence and comfort suffer as a result. As the center's only blind member, Debra finds it particularly difficult to interact with her peers without exclusion of some kind.
Only 1 in 10 visually impaired people are fluent in braille.
With nothing else to do, Debra's independent activities consist of drawing on paper with textured underlays, and running tactile beads through her fingertips.
With simple, modular forms that stimulate the senses and encourage imagination, Legos are both entertaining and easy to understand by users of any age and ability.
Develop a solution that promoted creative play among individuals, regardless of mental or physical ability.
Initial ideation for a tactile magnetic block system was developed through thumbnails, while sketch models allowed the product to be tested blindly and scaled accordingly.
Tactile surfaces and inset neodymium magnets encourage sensory exploration and cognitive development. Differently-sized blocks with angled faces facilitate unconventional architectural possibilities.
Tactile feedback is the primary sensory cue. Recessed graphics provide significant information about the blocks' polarity, and encourage further sensory exploration.
In addition to visual feedback, aural cues are highly important. A satisfying click provides verification that the blocks have made contact, facilitating spacial awareness.
The majority of users rely heavily on sight. The graphics serve as distinction between polarities, and are equally legible to both eyes and fingers.
Sturdy canvas lined with repurposed fabric protects the blocks both inside and out. Small, tactile drawstrings easily open and close the bag.